Andorra

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Andorra is a small, mountainous country in the Pyrenees mountains in Western Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. It has a border with France to the north and Spain to the south.

Population: 85,293 people
Area: 468 km2
Highest point: 2,946 m
Coastline: 0 km
Life expectancy: 82.58 years
GDP per capita: $37,200
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  • Metropolis over 100 hotels
  • Big city 50-100 hotels
  • Medium city 20-50 hotels
  • Small city 5-20 hotels
  • Village below 5 hotels

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  • Beach Beach
  • Business object Business object
  • Casino Casino
  • Civic property Civic property
  • Education Education
  • Entertainment Entertainment
  • Golf course Golf course
  • Green space Green space
  • Harbor Harbor
  • Historic site Historic site
  • Interesting place Interesting place
  • Medical Medical
  • Monument Monument
  • Museum Museum
  • Shopping Shopping
  • Skiing Skiing
  • Sports facility Sports facility
  • Theater Theater
  • Winery Winery

About Andorra

Background

For 715 years, from 1278 to 1994, Andorrans lived under a unique co-principality ruled by the French chief of state and the Spanish bishop of Urgel. In 1993, this feudal system was modified with the titular heads of state retained, but the government transformed into a parliamentary democracy. Long isolated and impoverished, mountainous Andorra achieved considerable prosperity since World War II through its tourist industry. Many migrant workers (legal and illegal) are attracted to the thriving economy with its lack of income taxes.

Economy

Tourism, the mainstay of Andorra's tiny, well-to-do economy, accounts for roughly 80% of GDP. An estimated 9 million tourists visit annually, attracted by Andorra's duty-free status and by its summer and winter resorts. Andorra's comparative advantage has recently eroded as the economies of neighbouring France and Spain have been opened up, providing broader availability of goods and lower tariffs. The banking sector, with its "tax haven" status, also contributes substantially to the economy. Agricultural production is limited—only 2% of the land is arable—and most food has to be imported. The principal livestock activity is sheep raising. Manufacturing output consists mainly of cigarettes, cigars, and furniture. Andorra is a member of the EU Customs Union and is treated as an EU member for trade in manufactured goods (no tariffs) and as a non-EU member for agricultural products.

Electricity

Electricity is supplied at 220 to 230V 50 Hz. Outlets are the European standard CEE-7/7 "Schukostecker" or "Schuko" or the compatible, CEE-7/16 "Europlug" types.

Activities

Ski Resorts

Most of these resorts were once small mountain villages which have grown in recent years due to skiing. In recent years the resorts have all joined together so that your ski pass covers neighbouring areas. As a result there are now two large alpine skiing areas known as Vallnord and Grandvalira.

Vallnord covers Arcalis and the Arinsal-Pal ski area. Arcalis is quite distant away from Arinsal-Pal but the latter have been joined up in recent years by a cable car connecting the two ski areas. The Arisnal-Pal ski area is directly accessible from La Massana right from the middle of the town. 93 km (58 mi) of pisses.

Grandvalira covers Soldeu and Pas de la Casa. The Soldeu ski area is also accessible from Encamp and Canillo. This quite cleverly has opened up these areas to cope with the influence of visitors without putting all the strain on Soldeu. It has 193 km of ski slopes between 1710–2640 m. The surface of grandvalira is about 1.926 H, and it's dividid in 6 different areas:

  • Pas de la Casa—skiing resort located right on the French border.
  • Soldeu—skiing resort
  • Arcalis—ski area located at the head of the valley from El Serrat
  • Arinsal—skiing resort part of the Arinsal Pal ski area. Also known as Vallnord which means Valley North in English
  • Pal—skiing resort part of the Arinsal Pal ski area.
  • Arinsal-Pal -- Actually two skiing areas connected by cable car. See Arinsal and Pal.

La Rabassa is a cross-country (Nordic) skiing area in southern Andorra above the town of Sant Julia de Loria.

Hiking and trekking

If you would like more information on the mountain huts in Andorra, go to this site. Be sure to bring something other than sandals for your feet and a purse for your cellphone.

Andorra is a great place for hiking. The point of departure is the town of Arinsal at the foot of the Coma Pedrosa (2,942 m/9,652 ft) and the Pic de Médécourbe (2,914 m/9,560 ft).

  • Treks from Arinsal (1,500 m) - Pic de Sanfons (2,888 m/9,475 ft, 4h45, climb 1,310 m/4,298 ft, medium until the hut, difficult on the ridge). View on the Coma Pedrosa, the valley of Tor, the lakes of Baiau in Spain as well as on the Pallars mountains. Mountain hut and lake on the way. Parking at Torrent Ribal 1,580 m (5,184 ft).
  • Pic de Médécourbe 2,914 m (4h30, climb 1,335 m/4,380 ft, medium until the hut increasing to difficult on the ridge). A classic! Mountain hut half-way up, lakes and a breathtaking view over the valley of Arinsal, Boet and Vicdessos (France). Parking at Torrent Ribal 1,580 m (5,184 ft). The peak is the western tripoint international boundary of Andorra, France, and Spain.
  • Pic de Coma Pedrosa 2,942 m (4h30, climb 1,370 m, medium until the lake, difficult on the ridge). The highest mountain in Andorra. Mountain hut half way up, lakes. Beautiful view of the surrounding summits, the valley of Arinsal and to the West, the Maladeta and Ecantats massifs. Parking at Torrent Ribal 1580m.
  • Montmantell lakes and the Pic del Pla de l'Estany 2,859 m (4h20, climb 1'280m, medium). Mountain hut half-way up, lakes, magnificent view over the Ariège mountains in France and over Andorra. Parking at Torrent Ribal 1580 m.
  • Arinsal - Percanela - les Fonts - Pla de l'Estany - Arinsal circuit 2'055m (4h30, climb 670m, medium) 2 mountain huts. Very pleasant circuit which one can do either way. Lovely views of Coma Pedrosa via the imposing natural amphitheatre of Les Fonts. A few bordas (farm houses) on the way, some renovated, some in ruins. Parking at Arinsal 1,466 m.
  • Camí del coll de les Cases 1,950 m (1h40, climb 490 m, medium) Panoramic view over the Ordino mountains and la Massana. Ideal picnic and meditation site. One can continue along the GR11 to Arans (parking at Mas de Ribafeta 1466m) but transport back to Arinsal must be provided.

Spa

In Andorra La Vella there is the famous Caldea to visit which is a spa/swimming pool complex. This is very popular. It is located up the top end of Andorra-la-Vella and you cannot miss it because it is the large glass spire structure which is quite an attraction on the skyline itself.

Food

Escudella De Pages (Catalan peasant soup) is often considered as the national dish.

Shopping

Andorra uses the euro (€, EUR) as its money. It is one of 24 European countries that use this common European currency: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain (which are all eurozone countries of the European Union or EU) together with the six non-EU members Andorra, Kosovo, Monaco, Montenegro, San Marino and the Vatican that also solely use euros but have no say in eurozone affairs. These 24 countries together have a population of more than 330 million.

One euro is divided into 100 cents. Except for Kosovo and Montenegro, all issue their own coins with a distinctive, national face. However, all the coins' obverse looks the same, as do all bills or banknotes and all are legal tender in all 24 countries.

Andorra La Vella is a good destination to buy all kinds of cheap goods, due to the country's status as a "tax haven."

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Andorra on Wikivoyage.

Cities in Andorra

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Andorra la Vella is the capital of Andorra. At an altitude of 1023m it is the only European capital to be located over 1 km above the sea level, and consequentially Europe's highest located capital.

Interesting places:

  • Casa de la Vall
  • Placa del Poble
  • Church of Saint Stephen
  • Caldea Spa
  • Saint Andrew Church
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Pas de la Casa is a town in Andorra, a small mountainous country in the Pyrenees mountains in Europe. It is located on the Andorran - French border quite high in the mountains. As a result it has the best snow reliability in Andorra. It is a fantastic ski resort which also has a variety of different bars to ... (read more)

Interesting places:

  • Pas de la Casa Resort
  • Grau Roig Ski Resort
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Soldeu and El Tarter lie in the parish (administrative division) of Canillo some 17km NE of the capital of Andorra between Andorra La Vella and the French border at Pas de la Casa (2085m). Arguably the best known area in Andorra for skiing, Soldeu and El Tarter (neighbour villages) are lively, good value for ... (read more)

Interesting places:

  • El Tarter Snow Park
  • Soldeu Ski Resort
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Arinsal is a village in Andorra, a small mountainous country in the Pyrenees mountains in Europe. It is located at the head of a valley. The old village part is clearly evident but due to the fact it is also a ski resort it has grown a lot and has quite a number of hotels catering to this trade. As a result ... (read more)

Interesting places:

  • Pic de Percanela
  • Lake Tristiana
  • La Tossa Ski Lift
  • El Cortal Ski Lift
  • Pal-Arinsal Ski Resort
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Encamp is a parish (administrative division) and town 4km NE of the capital of Andorra between Andorra La Vella and the French border at Pas de la Casa (2085m).

Interesting places:

  • Funicamp Ski Lift
  • Meritxell Sanctuary
  • Pic Blanc Ski Lift
  • TSD 4 Llac del Cubil Ski Lift
  • Encamp-Grandvalira Ski Area
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La Massana lies in the western border parish (administrative division) of the same name and en route to the town of Ordino in Andorra between Andorra La Vella and France.

Interesting places:

  • La Caubella Ski Lift
  • Arinsal Ski Lift
  • La Serra II Ski Lift
  • Seturia Ski Lift
  • La Botella Ski Lift
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Sant Julia de Loria lies on border to Spain in the southern parish (administrative division) in Andorra between Andorra La Vella and Spain.

Interesting places:

  • Naturlandia
  • La Rabassa Ski Lift
  • Devk-Arena
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Canillo is a parish (administrative division) and town 12km NE of the capital of Andorra between Andorra La Vella and the French border at Pas de la Casa .

Interesting places:

  • Palau de Gel
  • TSD4 Pas De La Casa Ski Lift
  • Sant Serni Church
  • Sant Joan de Caselles
  • TSF4 Costa Rodona Ski Lift
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Ordino is the northernmost parish (administrative division) and town N of the capital of Andorra between Andorra La Vella and France. It has the fewest inhabitants of all Andorran parishes but covers almost the largest area.

Interesting places:

  • Casa de Areny Plandolit
  • Postal Museum
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Escaldes-Engordany is a parish (administrative division) mainly to the east of Andorra La Vella but with main village of the same name 1.6km N of the capital of Andorra on the road to La Massana and Ordino.

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Ordino is the northernmost parish (administrative division) and town N of the capital of Andorra between Andorra La Vella and France. It has the fewest inhabitants of all Andorran parishes but covers almost the largest area.

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Ordino is the northernmost parish (administrative division) and town N of the capital of Andorra between Andorra La Vella and France. It has the fewest inhabitants of all Andorran parishes but covers almost the largest area.

Interesting places:

  • Arcalis Ski Resort
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Ordino is the northernmost parish (administrative division) and town N of the capital of Andorra between Andorra La Vella and France. It has the fewest inhabitants of all Andorran parishes but covers almost the largest area.

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panoramio Photos are copyrighted by their owners

Points of Interest in Andorra

Threatened by seemingly unchecked development, the country's main draw are still its magnificent mountainous landscapes, offering spectacular vistas in every season. At these heights, summers are cool, making for excellent hiking conditions through the romantic green valleys. Challenging day long hikes can be had on even higher grounds, and will take you through truly memorable scenery. Don't overlook the Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley, Andorra's only UNESCO World Heritage site. Only reachable on foot, this undeveloped area is an important wildlife sanctuary and consists of forest and fiels, dotted with the odd shepherd's hut. In winter, snow covers large parts of the country, changing the Alpine character into an equally beautiful stage for various winter sports.

Yet, there is more to this tiny country. There are a number of lovely historic villages, home to centuries old houses and medieval Romanesque churches and shrines along cobblestoned streets. Good places to sample some culture are Ordino, Santa Coloma d'Andorra (home to the oldest building in the country, a 9th century church) and Sant Julia de Loria. In between the village of Canillo and Encamp stands the shrine of the country's patroness, Our Lady of Meritxell. A 1972 fire ruined the original statue, but the excellent replica makes a fine stand-in. Les Escaldes is a good place to witness some traditional dance.

The country's capital, Andorra la Vella, may seem like a traffic and shop heavy place at first - and indeed it is. Look a little deeper however, and you'll find the 11th century Església de Sant Esteve, a Romanesque church dedicated to St. Stephen. A nice piazza and the historic parliament building make for other highlights in your city explorations.

Casa de la Vall - Andorra la Vella

Casa de Areny Plandolit - Ordino

Palau de Gel - Canillo

Pas de la Casa Resort - Pas de la Casa

Funicamp Ski Lift - Encamp

Pic de Percanela - Arinsal

El Tarter Snow Park - Soldeu

La Caubella Ski Lift - La Massana

Naturlandia - Sant Julia de Loria

Arcalis Ski Resort - El Serrat

Placa del Poble - Andorra la Vella

Church of Saint Stephen - Andorra la Vella

Caldea Spa - Andorra la Vella

Saint Andrew Church - Andorra la Vella

TSD4 Pas De La Casa Ski Lift - Canillo

Sant Serni Church - Canillo

Postal Museum - Ordino

Meritxell Sanctuary - Encamp

Sant Joan de Caselles - Canillo

TSF4 Costa Rodona Ski Lift - Canillo

panoramio Photos are copyrighted by their owners

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